The Body & Fit extension: The shading effect of pyramid profiles perfected

An even flatter and smoother façade, concealed doors, lighting, emergency overflows and roof trim. When extending Body & Fit in the Frisian town of Heerenveen (NL), no detail that could be improved was overlooked. A number of great details were added too, such as the pyramid-profile façade cladding, which extends from the outside of the building inside. Architect Jouke de Vries uses steel profiled cladding and shows his expertise in the achievement of special details.

The need for an extension in the short term was already anticipated during preparations for the construction of the original Body & Fit office and distribution centre back in 2013. With this in mind, a number of design choices were made that would make it possible for the building to retain its uniform appearance even if an extension were to be added at a later date. The repeating façade, consisting of SAB pyramid profiles and flat rectangular frames, mean that the building can be extended almost without limit.

Phase 2 of the distribution centre was completed last year.

The new area doubles the previous floor surface area to approximately 6,200 m2. Here too, the façade and underlying steel structure used in Phase 2 were designed with a view to the possibility of a third extension, so the floor surface area available, could be doubled yet again. The strong growth in demand for Body & Fit food supplements is making this a very real prospect for the future.

The striking appearance of the Body & Fit distribution centre on the A7 motorway has been achieved using flat rectangular flashings, filled with SAB-Pyramid 37/460 profiles. These create a relief in the façade and a characteristic shading effect. The pyramid profiles have been fitted vertically and at a level deeper than the surrounding flat steel bent plate, which creates visual contrasts. The first design for the above was produced by Auke J. de Vries.

The extension, which was designed by architect Jouke de Vries, builds on the original repeating shape. However, De Vries builds on this design by using more variations in profiles, but without adding any colour differences. The colour used for the new façades is Colorcoat Prisma Anthracite Grey. At points marking a transition between two adjacent rectangular frames, a vertical strip of horizontally-fitted rabat profiles (SAB-PD 22/500) creates a contrast, shadow and connectivity.

Jouke de Vries is interested in the structures that can be achieved from sheet metalwork and the sense of depth they create and he is creative in the way he uses this material. His interests also extend to the consequences of increases in scale. The extension to the distribution centre is twice as high as the original building. To make sure that the same visual effect was achieved, he used a higher pyramid profile in the frame. The SAB-Pyramid 50 replaces the SAB-Pyramid 37 here. “A fine ridge becomes too smooth and flat if you increase the scale. You also lose the shading effect you had before”, the architect comments.

When the full light of the afternoon sun shines on the façade, any unevenness at all will be disruptive. This is why even more attention was paid to design implementation when putting together a design for the extension. To gain an even flatter façade, omega profiles were used between the SAB structural liner trays and the profiled cladding. These create a new aligned surface. Details that break up the surface, like escape doors and emergency overflows, are all concealed. The first of four new dock shelters for Phase 3 have been incorporated into the façade too, so that unity in surface and shape are achieved without the distraction of elements that are attached to or built onto the building.

“Appreciation of the contractor Friso and the façade construction company M.S.P. Dak en Wand, which constructed the building. The excellent collaboration and quick response to questions was vital to the successful achievement of all of the details envisaged in a very short construction time of just eight months” says De Vries. One beautiful detail in the design is the inside-out continuation of the horizontal pyramid profiles in the canteen. Besides creating a wonderful optical effect, this also provides added value where experience of the space in question is concerned. The design has made the canteen an intermediary between the office and the warehouse.

An interesting aspect of the warehouse is the fact that it requires virtually no heating at all. The internal head load created by LED lighting and the building’s users are enough to keep the warehouse at a temperature of 18 degrees, with the mass of the full warehouse acting as a heat buffer. With this in mind, great importance was attached to the need for air tightness and good façade and roof insulation values. The façade consists of SAB structural liner trays to which seals have been applied in the factory. Each wall features Isover glass fibre insulation with an Rc value of 4.5. The Total Cost of Ownership was an important consideration for Body & Fit when deciding whether to opt for a higher insulation value or heating. “According to calculations, the thicker insulation yields a payback time of seven years here without compromising on comfort” says De Vries.

Phase I of the Body & Fit office and distribution centre was designed by Auke J. de Vries Architecten. The extension (Phase II) was designed by Architectuur Support run by Jouke de Vries.
Details like the escape door and the overflow have been subtly concealed behind profiles: SAB Rabat 22/500. The old and the first new loading dock, to be increased to four docks in the future.

Photos: – Pieterburen